With great pleasure, we announce the 2023 recipients of the CU College of Nursing Alumni Association Awards.
These incredible alumni were recognized for their extraordinary contributions to the profession and community of nursing. At the June 8, 2023 CU Nursing Alumni Association Awards ceremony, we heard remarks from Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, CU Nursing Alumni Association President Dr. Amy Loomis, and President-Elect Dr. Marnie McKercher. Read more about our 2023 awardees below.
Christina Ellis, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC
Rising Star Award
Mary Beth Flynn Makic PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K,
Distinguished Alumni Award
LTC Christopher Stucky, PhD, RN, CNOR, CSSM,
Lola M. Fehr, MSN, RN, CAE, PRP, FAAN
Lifetime Achievement Award
Lifetime Achievement Award: Lola Fehr
Lola M. Fehr, MSN, RN, CAE, PRP, FAAN
Lola Fehr graduated from CU Nursing in 1975 with her master's degree. She describes herself as currently in "preferment". This is not retirement. She describes it as doing what she prefers to do. Fehr's "preferment" includes employment at the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence where she oversees and serves as the nurse planner for all continuing education and leads the Colorado Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC). NOBC is a national movement that encourages nurses to get on boards of directors and commissions and teaches them how to have an impactful presence in those organizations.
Her career of more than sixty-five years has included working as a staff nurse on medical-surgical units, staff development, and as director of nursing in a community hospital. She has served as the board president of the Colorado Nurses Association and currently serves on the board of directors of the Colorado Nurses Foundation. Fehr currently serves as the past chair of Friends of Nursing. She has worked as the executive director for both the New York state and the National Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). She is a past interim president and CEO of the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence, and a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) for her body of work supporting the nursing profession at a national level in addition to her membership in Sigma Theta Tau. Additionally, Fehr served as Interim Executive Director of AAN in 2010. Her nursing degrees are from Denver St. Luke's Hospital, the University of Denver, and the University of Colorado. Fehr has served as president of the CU Nursing Alumni Association and has been inducted into the Colorado Nurses Association Hall of Fame. She is credentialed as a Certified Association Executive and as a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. Fehr is a certified Gallup Strength Finder's coach and continues to coach and mentor our next generation of nurses.
While Fehr is currently in “preferment”, she has never stopped supporting nurses. Her current interests are facilitating meaningful meetings for associations and boards, leadership development for individuals and nonprofit organizations, participating in relevant professional development, and coaching individuals and teams for success.
Pathfinder Award: Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Stucky
LTC Christopher Stucky, PhD, RN, CNOR, CSSM, CNAMB, RN-BC, NEA-BC, FAAN
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Christopher Stucky’s first professional exposure to nursing was while serving as an active-duty surgical technologist in the US Army. Working closely with perioperative nurses on interprofessional surgical teams, he developed a deep respect for the nursing role. Stucky became keenly aware of perioperative nurses’ impact on optimal patient health and surgical outcomes. During this time, he served with several great perioperative nursing mentors who encouraged and motivated him to attend nursing school. Stucky graduated from CU Nursing in 2001 with a bachelor’s in nursing and earned a PhD in Nursing from Uniformed Services University.
Today, Stucky is an active-duty US Army Nurse Corps Nurse Scientist stationed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. He serves in several senior nursing roles, including Army Director of the TriService Nursing Research Program (TSNRP) Biobehavioral Research Interest Group, Board of Trustees at the CCI Research Foundation, and Perioperative Consultant to the Army Surgeon General.
Stucky has been widely recognized for his research program, executive leadership, and volunteer service to specialty nursing organizations throughout his military career spanning over 30 years. His research findings advanced new policies and procedures to improve perioperative nursing care and patient safety. The TSNRP, Army Nurse Corps Association (ANCA), and the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) have funded his research through grant awards.
LTC Stucky deployed twice to Iraq as a perioperative nurse to support Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004-2005) and Operation New Dawn (2010-2011). He attained his full professional status and national prominence as a perioperative nursing expert by being awarded the AMEDD 9A Designator, inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit (O2M3), and as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). His research interests include network analysis, informatics, systems science, communication, and surgical team performance. Dr. Stucky was awarded the prestigious Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee Award as the 2022 Army Nurse of the Year by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Distinguished Alumni Award: Mary Beth Makic
Mary Beth Flynn Makic PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K, FAAN, FNAP, FCNS
Dr. Mary Beth Makic graduated from CU Nursing in 2007 with her PhD in Nursing. She has since made her career at CU. She is a professor and specialty director of the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing. Makic is a research scientist at Denver Health and previously held the position of research nurse scientist for critical care, at the University of Colorado Hospital from 2008-2015 and a clinical nurse specialist position from 1996-2008.
Makic is focused on nursing-driven interventions to optimize outcomes of acute and critically ill patients. She has been a clinical nurse specialist for more than 25 years. She is recognized as a leader in evidence-based practice, publishing and speaking at national forums about the importance of nurses translating evidence into practice and leading practice change. Her career has been committed to integrating best evidence and inter-professional initiatives to advance the translation of science into practice. Makic has successfully supported bedside nurses as they implement evidence to improve practice and patient outcomes.
Makic is the editor of highly acclaimed textbooks Trauma Nursing: Resuscitation through Rehabilitation, 5th edition; Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care, 13th edition; and Introduction to Critical Care Nursing, 9th edition. She also was a section editor in the published AACN Procedure Manual for High Acuity, Progressive, and Critical Care, 7th edition.
She recently completed a three-year term on the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) board of directors. Her other affiliations include membership in the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, Sigma Theta Tau International, and Society of Critical Care Medicine. Among her many honors, she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2012, the National Academies of Practice in 2013, and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists in 2019. Makic received the Nightingale Luminary Award from the Central Colorado Area Health and Education Center in 2015 and the Magnet Nurse of the Year from the University of Colorado Hospital in 2014.
Through challenging nurses to critically review evidence to guide practice, Makic has mentored nurses in numerous practice changes and quality improvement initiatives to improve patient care and outcomes.
Rising Star Award: Christina Ellis
Christina Ellis, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC
Christina Ellis is a Pediatric Registered Nurse at Kaiser Permanente. She is the team lead in a pediatric ambulatory department in Southern California. She started her journey as a licensed vocational nurse in 2005, and in 2010 continued her education and received an associate degree in nursing. Ellis graduated from CU College of Nursing in 2022 from the RN to BSN program.
During her time at CU, she was an award finalist for the undergraduate student leadership award and the student affairs community engagement award, and Ellis was awarded Sigma Theta Tau honors. Ellis is now continuing her master’s in healthcare administration at Louisiana State University.
During the last 13 years, Ellis has worked in various specialties, from oncology to critical care. It wasn’t until her first-born child ended up in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that she realized her heart’s passion was to care for the tiniest and most vulnerable population. Ellis served on several committees and teams in the NICU, such as a safety coach, appointed preceptor, and a neuro NICU team member. She is nationally certified with a Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Certification (RNC-NIC).
In recent years, Ellis has transitioned focus from critical care to preventative care in the pediatric population. She serves on a PEDI-bolt committee (back-office leadership team), where she champions new ideas and educates the staff within her department. Ellis identified an at-risk group and recognized the lack of resources for new parents and members within the community. She developed a welcome and educational folder with vital information and resources for new members and parents. The Chief of Pediatrics for Ellis’s region loved this initiative and went on to implement the educational folder across all locations within South County. Since becoming team lead, physician satisfaction scores on back-office support have risen significantly. Her recent awards include the 2019 and 2021 outstanding commitment to patient safety, the 2019 certificate in team excellence, the 2022 ethics in action award, and the 2022 exemplary contributor to physician practice support award.
Ellis strives for a higher quality of care and the most current evidence-based research to support nursing practice and exemplary patient care.
Congratulations to all 2023 honorees! Save the date for Thursday, June 8, 2023, from 6-8:30 p.m., where we will celebrate these incredible alumni at the CU Nursing Alumni Association Awards.